Assay Depot speeds new drug discovery

A startup has emerged that has designed a new way to connect scientists with pharmaceutical research service providers, helping to streamline the drug discovery process. San Diego-based Assay Depot, an Internet marketplace for the pharmaceutical services industry, announced yesterday they have raised $1.8 million in series A financing from private investors.

Industry and academic scientists that are researching new drugs require samples of their work to be analyzed by third party labs, or service providers. Assay Depot makes this process more efficient by providing a marketplace that brings many service providers together in one place. A researcher (customer) will go on the site and select an option from a research services menu, then mail their sample in a pre-paid overnight express envelope to Assay. That order is then distributed to one of many service providers in Assay’s network, at which point the sample is forwarded by Assay to the corresponding provider. Once they complete the research service, the results are uploaded to Assay who then provides the customer with a full data report. Assay provides a variety of additional services to research providers as well: marketing, legal agreements and billing are all able to be handled on Assay Depot’s side.

The company plans to launch its service in early 2008.

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VaultStreet : Financial document management company gets funding

vaultstreet logo

VaultStreet, a Santa Monica startup has received a seed round of angel funding. VaultStreet is a secure one stop shop for financial document management. It also allows users to coordinate with their financial planners and accountants.

The site is expected to launch in late 2007.

financial account aggregation

We have previously written about the long, and sometimes less than glorious history of financial aggregation. These are services that allow you to add all your financial and related accounts at financial institutions - banks, brokerages, and even airline frequent flyer accounts, and view your net worth, spending habits, outstanding bills etc in one place. VaultStreet seems to have a somewhat different spin in that it allows not only the aggregation, but also adds a communication layer.

The company has made $1.8M in revenue in one year, and plans to partner with financial service providers. Yodlee, a company in this space, has partnerships with brokerages and banking institutions and also has a direct-to-consumer interface.

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Makeitwork: For the techno-timid

makeitwork red carIf you have driven around Los Angeles, you have very likely seen a bright red car on the highway, with the logo MakeItWork emblazoned on it.

MakeItWork will come to your home or office and make “it” work. “It” can be practically anything - set up your TiVo, fix your computer, install your home entertainment system and - this one is a classic - train you on how to use your iPod! For the busy, or the gadgetry challenged, they are the final defense against total embarrassment.

Makeitwork has a catchy flash website, with the intro on the home page claiming that they are “Turning customer service upside down”.


Santa Barbara based Makeitwork has received several rounds of funding with the seed round of $370k in 2003 received from the Tech Coast Angels and Frontera capital. The company has raised a second round which includes Somera Ventures, for a total funding of $2.75M.

Makeitwork will be presenting at the upcoming VentureNet conference on October 5th, 2007 in Costa Mesa, California

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Santa Monica video startup raises funding

LogoDeca is an online professional-video startup based in Santa Monica, Calif. that bills itself as “the first hybrid production and commercial model specifically for mainstream digital entertainment.” The company just announced it has raised $5 million in a series A round. Investors were Atomico Investments (, technorati), General Catalyst Partners, and Mayfield Fund. The site, which hasn’t launched yet, aims to provide video content on par with what comes out of Hollywood. Quite a lofty goal. The company’s services are three-tiered: Deca aims to finance, develop and distribute video. However, their actual website won’t showcase any of the content; all of the distribution is being handled by outside partners.
Deca was founded in 2007 by Michael Wayne and Chris Kimbell, both of whom have combined past experience at Sony Pictures, ABC, and Yahoo! Music. Wayne said the following:

Digital entertainment is not simply about posting something to YouTube; digital entertainment needs to be compelling, high quality, social and interactive. DECA brings the online and entertainment worlds together in a studio model that understands how new entertainment formats need to be created, funded, marketed, and distributed.

While this could seem like just another addition to the crowded online video space, the experience that the founders bring with them could prove to separate Deca from the pack. While online video appears to be saturated, people are still trying to figure out the right model to deliver “professional” content. Will big broadcast networks like NBC dominate the web market with sites like Hulu, or will startups have a shot? Big broadcasters definitely have first-mover advantage with their production studios constantly generating quality content, but that model may eventually be uprooted by companies like Deca.

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